Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Melissa Stockwell: 3 Time World Champion

In early 2011, Keri Schindler asked me if I wish to join a new triathlon club she and a few friends had put together in the Chicago area. I said yes. Besides having the chance to work closely with Keri, a person with whom I worked closely when I ran my first Chicago Marathon on the GLASA Team, I would also have the opportunity to meet and race along side Melissa Stockwell, an Iraq War veteran and above the knee amputee who was officially the first woman wounded in the war three weeks after she arrived. Melissa returned to the USA after her injury and began the long journey back to reclaiming her life. She did plenty of swimming. she was a natural in the water. She was introduced to the sport of triathlon. Swim, bike, run came easy to her. It was so easy she competed in her first event at the Chicago Triathlon and won her division. She flew to New York and competed in the National Championship in the Physically Challenged division and she won! As a result, Melissa competed at the World Championships. My favorite part of reading her race report was nearing the finish line as the locals who lined the streets cheered "USA USA!" Melissa was handed an American flag which she carried and waved proudly as she stormed to the first place finish. Melissa was the world champion. The thing is, Melissa never stopped being that. In 2011, Melissa defended both her national and international titles. After winning for a third consecutive year at the US Nationals, Melissa made her way to Auckland New Zealand this past weekend to compete and defend her title for a third consecutive year. She rolled to a gold medal victory completing the 3-peat! Another member of her Dare2Tri Chicago paratriathlon Club rolled in second as a third American woman raced home giving the US a sweep of the top three spots at the podium. Congratulations to my friend and teammate, Melissa Stockwell on her tremendous accomplishment. The motto of the organization, Dare2Tri, which she co-founded is "One inspires many." She certainly does that and so much more.

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